How to Train Dogs to Behave at the Door and Stop Door Dashing

By: David Codr

Published Date: November 28, 2017

For this in home dog training session we traveled to Bennington Nebraska to work with 11 month-old Bernese Mountain Dog Henry and his room mate 10 year-old Black Lab Beau on the dog’s door behavior when people arrive or ring the doorbell.

I got a good demonstration of the dog’s excited door behavior when I arrived for this at home dog training session.

When I sat down with the guardians to discuss Henry’s door dashing behavior and Beau’s habit of over barking. Based on what I learned, it appears that this is a case of the dogs being confused as to what their position was with their human counterparts.

A lack of rules and structure combined with the humans petting the dogs when they displayed unwanted dog behavior had confused the dogs and created a bit of a competition between the two dogs. Anytime you have multiple dogs living under the same roof, rivalry behavior can occur. When one of the dogs is a puppy, that amplifies things.

I suggested a number of ways for the family to start adding in structure to help shift the leader follower dynamic. I also showed them how to pet with a purpose and reward desired actions to help the dogs start feeling motivated to act how the humans want them to.

As a dog behavior expert, I have found that anytime you have an excited dog who is showing behavior you don’t like, finding a way to lower the intensity is crucial. Ive found when dogs misbehave at the door, increasing the distance can lower the intensity and help the dog settle down faster.

I also like to desensitize the dog from all the triggers that cause the dog to act badly at the door when guests arrive. Training a dog to behave at the door isn’t hard if you use the right positive dog training technique. In the video below you can see how I did this with Beau and Henry.

After showing the family how to create an invisible boundary 15 feet away from the door and train a dog to behave how they want, I coached the mother through the exercise herself.

Because there are two ways to get to the door, I suggested the family continue blocking one of the routes as they practice this door exercise. If they can practice claiming the door 2-3 times a day for the next week, the dogs should start to respect the invisible boundary away from the door on their own.

Before ending the session, I showed the guardians how to add a little structure to the feeding ritual as eating is such a primally important activity for dogs. By eating first, then keeping one dog away while the other dog eats, the humans can demonstrate they have taken on the leadership role and the dogs no longer need to do so.

We wrapped things up by filming a roadmap to success video to make it easier for the family to put a stop to the unwanted dog behavior problems they were having.

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